Many of the fastest-growing companies in the world today are technology companies. Technology is everywhere: the automotive industry, digital medical field, global healthcare system and the list goes on. Often, we hear about technical jargon and terms like Internet of Things(IoT), Artificial Intelligence(AI), Big Data, Cloud, etc. but we seldom take the time to think about how this affects our lives now and in future. I was very fortunate to get an opportunity to listen to some of the most innovative minds in technology during the Driving Dreams conference at University of Toronto Mississauga (UTM) this past summer.
When an Indy Racing League driver is told he would never move his arms or legs again let alone pursue his passion, what role does technology play. The inspiration behind the Driving Dreams Conference, Sam Schmidt developed quadriplegia after a crash during a practice lap in January of 2016. Arrow Electronics, along with medical researchers approached and worked with Sam Schmidt to create SAM (Semi-Autonomous Motorcar) which gave Sam the ability to drive again. This is much more than just an innovative technology story. At the conference, Sam shared his feeling of accomplishment and the joy of pursuing his life’s passion with the audience when he drives his SAM safely by head movements thanks to technology. He is truly a driver in control of his car as well as his life. Sam’s story is an extreme example of how technology can transform a life, using technology to do what’s never been done before. So when companies like Waymo projects commercialized self-driving cars for consumers in only three years, it does not come as a shock.
So what do the next 24 months look like for AI, Big Data, and IoT?
As Rob Martinez of Intel pointed out “Data is the new oil,” and Intel envisions itself as a data company, not just a chip company. Data chips are just the medium through which data travels to the market. This is where AI and IoT come into play. Marcellino Gemelli of Bosch explained IoT as what converts data into Information which equips the user to make decisions.
Andrew Hunter of the semiconductor company Cypress shared that technology customers are looking for smaller, price-efficient and more powerful solutions with upfront configurations instead of having to wade through multiple manuals.
Mohammad Ahmad of TE Connectivity emphasized the need for businesses to seek out pain points of customers, to understand their needs and wants. Agility and connectivity seem to be high on customers’ wish list. One of the points made was how there are so many existing innovations and advances in technology which are waiting to be commercialized.
Some of the points discussed by the panelists were the need for decision-makers to ask the right questions such as: What are we doing with our data? How are we gathering the data? Is it the right amount of data and the right data? One of the fundamental rules of data sciences is Garbage In; Garbage Out.
Where are we going to store the respective data? Processing the data is one part of the puzzle, how do we make sure we have faster access to the data? Does the data analysis ultimately empower us to make informed decisions? Learning, as we all know, is not a linear process but educating ourselves is becoming more and more important as we cannot afford to not be innovative.
Commercializing technology in a way that saves customers money or saves lives is the future. The current generation wants to spend less and at the same time acquire products with more functionality. We crave speed and accuracy. We have come a long way from high up-front costs and on-premise software solutions for the Cloud.
Canada is a leader in machine learning, deep learning, IoT, AI. The job market has peremptory and immense demands for these skills. Greg Dashwood of Microsoft aptly explains there are varying skills required to implement technology solutions including industrial experience, device expertise, expertise in connectivity (secure, effective and efficient), big data expertise and data analytics expertise.One company alone will not be able to be a leader or expert in all these facets; collaboration across fields and industries is imperative for providing a complete solution.
I truly felt stimulated after learning of all the technological advances being made and what’s in-store for the future. One of the biggest takeaways from the day’s conference was the reminder that we need to constantly be keeping the ‘WHY’ in mind for every endeavor. Technology is transforming when it’s being utilized for solving problems and not just for the sake of adopting and following the buzz! We also need to ask ourselves what is the social impact and what VALUE are we providing?
Many thanks to RIC Centre, ICUBE UTM and Arrow Electronics for a great experience participating in the conference. Thanks to Mantralogix for truly believing and investing in educating and nurturing growth in employees.
This post was written by Shivani Thapar, Customer Support Analyst at Mantralogix.